The plans and purposes of God are never frustrated.
This phrase resonated with me this morning. For the past ten days or so, I have been battling with a virus infection. It’s been a brute – laying me flat, zapping me of all energy, motivation, and drive. As a result, I was put on bed rest for five of those days. I am finally starting to return to the land of the health, but I confess that this illness frustrated me to no end.
Was God frustrated by my illness?
I wanted Him to be though – There are times when I just want Him to do what I want Him to do – for my benefit. I desired to be well and get on with my life. I prayed and prayed and prayed that this illness would lessen its grip on my body. Granted, we’re talking ten days of not feeling well. It’s a virus. It’s not cancer or some other debilitating disease, ailment, or disability. Honestly, I needed to get over myself.
Maybe that’s the point.
Flat on my back, devoid of energy, motivation gone, nearly at the end of myself, and quiet – with space to think and to pray – I’ve been given time to rest. My preference is to work. My desire is to keep moving. My goal is to exercise daily. My drive is to go, go, go. My motivation is to be strong and healthy. And I have been. This has been a full year of family, ministry and life. We have accomplished a lot this year. I’m grateful.
And yet, my God desires me to be near Him. He wants me to slow down long enough to meditate on His word and to receive His counsel. He has divine wisdom to share with me for the present day and for the future.
Does it take an illness to realign my focus?
My God has a plan. Every object, every event, every person, and yes, every illness I encounter and experience in life occur according to the plans and purposes of my God. Sometimes, that doesn’t quite feel right – especially when I am laid flat on my back. However, there is so much more going on in the spiritual realm of God that I may not see – especially if I am on the go.
This truth is emphasized in the words of Paul to the Ephesian Church:
In Him, we were chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity and purpose of His will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of His glory.
New International Version, Ephesians 1: 11-12
You see, the plan and purpose of God is to bring all people, regardless of culture, country of origin, race, belief system, gender, intellectual capacity, economic status, strength, and motivation to eternal salvation through Jesus Christ. It’s not about us doing this salvation work. We cannot. We have no power to overcome sin and death without the resurrecting power of our Savior. We must come to the end of ourselves and confess our need of Him and Him alone.
The Lord desires us to be an even more glorious people than the stereotypes, labels and descriptions we may be ascribed by situation or circumstance – even like an illness – on this earth. The Lord is interested in gathering us up to Himself in a meaningfully intimate way. He desires to impart His deepest counsel and wisdom. In this way, as we receive His guidance, His mercy, grace, goodness, truth, wisdom, kindness and love. Then, all of these gifts of God flow out of our lives in response to those around us. This should be our aim – loving God and loving others with all we have!
Yet, in the midst of our lives, the Lord can be conspicuous and illusive all at the same time, can’t He? That can be frustrating at times – especially if we think He is not acting fast enough, doing enough, or responding in the time and space that we want Him to. Yet, He continues to act, to work, to respond, to listen, to care, and to produce according to His will both in and out of sight – whether we completely understand what is going on or not.
God’s enduring counsel stands.
As a result, the plans and purposes of God are never frustrated.
This may be a difficult pill to swallow. There is so much going on in this world that fails to make much sense. If we solely focus upon these earthly matters, we are vulnerable to despair.
Yet, our hope is in Christ and not in the things of this world.
If I am solely focusing upon my health as the end-all for my satisfaction and purpose, I will be disappointed. My health ebbs and flows. It isn’t consistent. Germs abound. I’m vulnerable to infection, especially if my immunity is low. My body is frail and finite. But even in my frailty, my God still speaks to me and imparts His knowledge. He fills me with His love. His purposes in my life are not thwarted because of my ten-day infection. He has a plan set in place for my life and He is continuing to work it out day after day after day after day. I need to rest in that.
So, my friends, are you struggling with a person, situation or circumstance like I have been the past two weeks? Do you seek resolution so that you can keep on keeping on?
I get it.
I’m with you.
But more importantly, your God is with you.
His plans for your life are not slowed frustrated, off track, or misaligned by the various people and circumstances you face. He is acting. He is working. He is guiding. He is helping. He is providing for you in seen and unseen ways until the breakthrough ultimately comes.
In the meantime, what are we to do?
We are asked to draw long and deep from our God and trust Him to work this circumstance and need out according to His time, His space, His purpose, and His will.
We are asked to praise and magnify His name. Because, my friends, ultimately we live for the honor and glory of Jesus Christ and not ourselves.
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
New International Version, Colossians 3: 1-4
Yes, I’ve been ill for a period of time. Yes, I want to be better. However, slowing down, drawing deep, and being close to my God is what I desire more. I do not want to miss out on anything He has to say to me.
Be encouraged, my friend.
The plans and purposes of the Lord are never frustrated.
Do you believe that?